The Russian space geckoes blasted off the face of the planet for weeks of zero gravity sex have returned to Earth dead.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said that the cause of death was still unknown but that scientists would review 44 days of video footage taken onboard to work out what exactly went wrong.
And although the geckos didn’t make it, a shipment of flies apparently took the trip into space and back in their stride, reproducing succesfully.
“It was established that while the Drosophila flies handled spaceflight well, developed and bred successfully, all the geckos, unfortunately, died,” said Roscosmos and the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medico-Biological Problems. “The date and circumstances of their deaths will be established by specialists.”
The creatures had been launched with the Foton-M4 spacecraft on 19 July. Roscosmos lost contact with the craft five days later.
Scientists wished to study the five geckos on-board (four female and one male) to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives.